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Evening bats (Nycticeius humeralis) The evening bat is medium sized and externally nondescript. The pelage is dark brown above and slightly peler below. The ears are short and rounded, the tragus is blunt and curved forward. and the calcar is not keeled. The most important distinguishing feature is the dentition.
Evening Bats are a woodland species that roosts behind loose bark, in hollow trees, in clumps of Spanish moss, beneath palm fronds, under bridges, and in buildings. They like to forage along streams in bottomlands and lakes or ponds, in a slow steady flight. Foraging takes place at two peaks during the night, the first is about one hour after dark and the second peak occurring just before dawn.
Evening Bats in northern latitudes accumulate fat deposits in the fall and may hibernate in unknown locations. In one instance it has been shown that movements of up to 523 km have been made in the fall. It has been suggested that increases in the number of winter roosting bats in Florida may demonstrate fall migrations to southern climes to overwinter.
Evening Bats feed on beetles, bugs, flying ants, various flies, and moths. Natural predators include owls, hawks, Raccoons, Black Rat Snakes and feral cats. The reported lifespan in this species is about five years, but is probably longer. Evening Bats are known to share roosts with other species of bats, like the Big Brown Bat and the Brazilian Free-tailed Bat.
Food : The evening bat apparently is a beetle strategist, although it also consumes occasional representatives of the orders Lepidoptera and Hymenoptera. Of special interest to farmers is the fact that this bat feeds heavily on cucumber beetles, which is a major agricultural pest because the adult feeds on vine crops and the larva is the southern corn rootworm.
Behavior: Evening bats are active at night. They fly high early in the evening and lower later at night. They use echos to locate the insects that they feed on. Evening bats live in groups. They roost in colonies of around 30 bats. In October, females living in northern populations migrate south, as far as 547 km. In the spring, females return to their northern homes to have their young. Males do not migrate with the females. Instead, they stay in the southern portion of the range throughout the year.
Life Cycle : Evening bats mate in the late summer and early fall, but they donâ€™t get pregnant until spring. Females store sperm in their reproductive tract until spring, when ovulation and fertilization occur.
Adult male evening bats may have a harem with about twenty females. The young are born in nursery colonies in hollow trees, behind loose bark, or sometimes in buildings and attics. Females usually have twins, can have triplets and successfully raise them. The pups weigh 2 g and birth. This is half of the motherâ€™s weight after giving birth. This makes evening bat pups one of the largest newborn mammals compared to the size of the mother.
Pups are pink and hairless at birth, but they can squeak. They open their eyes within 24 to 30 hours of birth. Young evening bats donâ€™t fly until they are about three weeks old. The pups are weaned 6 to 9 weeks after birth. Males leave the roost after six weeks, but females remain in the colony in which they were born. Bats breed in the year after their birth.
Young are born naked and blind, but they develop rapidly. Pups are able to fly by the end of three weeks. Females nurse their pups for about six weeks, and provide all the parental care the young bat receives. However, there are reports of communal nursing in nursery colonies. A mother recognizes her pups within the colonly by their smell and their voices. If any of her pups fall before the are able to fly, the mother will fetch them. Male pups leave their home at 6 weeks of age, but female offspring remain in the colony of their birth for the rest of their lives.
These bats frequent forested areas and watercourses, and utilize hollow trees as roosting sites and nurseries. They use the attics of houses and other man-made structures as roosts when natural sites are not available. They have been captured in all months of the year in Texas, indicating that they are year-round residents of the state. Their winter habits are not known. In summer the adult males and females do not use the same roosts.
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